Brooklyn, NY – Local Officials Ask City For More Women’s Hours At Williamsburg Pool


    FILE - A Hasidic Jewish woman leaves the Metropolitan Pool in the Williamsburg neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, June 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Rachelle Blidner)Brooklyn, NY – Five months after women’s-only swimming hours were slashed at a Williamsburg pool, a group of elected officials are lobbying to reinstate the original time allotment for the sake of neighborhood women.

    As previously reported on VIN News (, the New York City Human Rights Commission ruled last summer that segregated hours at the Metropolitan Recreation Center on Bedford Avenue did not violate any city laws banning gender discrimination at public facilities.

    But the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation eliminated two days of women’s only swim in October, leaving the many women who use the pool just four hours to swim instead of the previously allotted eight.

    Since that time, women of all religions have been working with local and city officials to have the original hours restored, according to DNA Info (

    A letter signed by Senator Martin Dilan, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and City Councilman Stephen Levin asked Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver to reconsider the new scheduling at the pool which now offers women’s swim on Wednesdays from 9 to 11 AM and Sunday afternoons from 2:45 to 4:45 PM. The group noted that there are few recreational opportunities in the area and that the pool provides many with their only outlet for physical fitness.

    The letter also said that pool had been slated for demolition approximately 30 years ago, but was saved by a grassroots neighborhood effort. The letter called on Commissioner Silver to save the pool “for the sake of women, physical wellbeing and history.”

    51 year old Esther Weiss, a regular at the pool, said that she has been monitoring the pool’s usage since the October reduction in hours. Weiss, who said that she finds swimming helps her with lower back pain, said that the pool has been empty during the extra four hours that were removed from the women’s-only schedule.

    “It’s anti-Semitic,” said Weiss. “It’s anti-women.”

    But fellow swimmer Catherine Fukushima, who has argued against the women’s-only hours, said that the reducing the gender segregated hours was the appropriate decision.

    “[We] look forward to working with all parties to improve the pool schedule to optimize usage of the facility,” she said.

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    1. How can the woman call it anti-Semitic and anti-women when it’s a public pool and the women are getting more time to swim then the men. I think the anti words should be used when there is really a good reason to use them. Maybe in a case where a woman can’t choose to sit anywhere she wants on a bus that receives gov’t funding.

    2. If they dont like it, then build their own womens only pool. Unfortunately we live in golus and you should appreciate the religious accommodations they offer. Would you prefer segregated communities like they had back in Europe, with no religious freedom and certainly no womens hours pool that Jews could frequent.


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